Researchers determine that sustainability is now a science; Occupy Wall Street's sustainability committee plays house; Harvard looks to hire someone who can "cultivate an understanding of food"; and a debate asks whether the campus sustainability movement detracts from the better purposes of higher education.
This edition of sustainability-in-higher-ed news includes the University of Toledo’s new curricular residence life programs in sustainability; UNC’s workshop to help participants explore oppression and injustice; the growing trend of campus gardens; the University of Chicago’s anxious efforts to “catch up”; and strategic questions for identifying eco-friendly colleges.
Back in March, I received a leaked copy of a plan for one of the colleges at Virginia Tech. It was a new set of guidelines for faculty promotion and tenure that would require every candidate to compile an annual record of “demonstrated” diversity accomplishments. Other Virginia Tech documents spelled out in detail what would pass muster as a diversity accomplishment. The new rules were intended to apply to the classroom, research, publication, faculty involvement with student activities, and everything else that faculty members might do. I raised a fuss through the National Association of Scholars website, and other organizations, including FIRE and ACTA joined in. Eventually, the Virginia Tech board and the president backed down. But after the furor subsided the president and other officials made clear that their commitment to a comprehensive diversity regime at this state university was unchanged. Now comes a new document, a “Strategic Diversity Plan,” for Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. I got this one by internal leak as well, but it has subsequently been posted publicly. Should anyone much care what is happening at this large and pretty ordinary university in southern Virginia? I suppose the taxpayers of Virginia should have some interest. But the matter does seem to deserve a some broader attention if for one reason: it is about as well-documented a case as we are ever likely to see of a university in the grip of a race preference ideology attempting to enforce that ideology over everyone and everything in its reach. Nothing is too large (creation of whole new departments), or too small (flyers to be inserted in packets for job applicants) to escape the diversiphiles at Virginia Tech—and they propose to fund their whole enterprise not with line items in the budget, but with a fixed percentage of the whole budget! Ashley Thorne and I have pored over the “Strategic Diversity Plan” and “fisked” it, i.e. added a critical commentary inside the original text: http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?Doc_Id=1133. Last week we summarized the developments leading up to this new plan: http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?Doc_Id=1131. It’s hard to say whether this sort of effort on our part has any practical benefit. Virginia Tech and a great many other colleges and universities are scudding along with their racial preference regimes (and other forms of diversity that likewise debase the academic mission) without serious public opposition. But I do like the idea that we have paid attention and not just let this stuff settle in as though it made good sense and wise policy.